Bilateral Relationship Of Police With The Public In The Modern World
The importance of public support to the police force to achieving public order is undeniable to enlighten the crimes. Policing is a working field that requires experience and the assistance from the public in order to prevent and solve crimes. One of the most important aspects of po-licing is the integration and cooperation with the society to fight crimes. It is crucial to have the support from society, which is also called pro-active policing methods, when these times a crime is no longer prevented with the judicial campaign, or in other words reactive policing. In short police forces has to have a bilateral relationship with the public or vice-versa to achieve the confidence in crime fighting. First step is to inform the society, second is to listen and con-sider the thoughts and suggestions and to conclude these. As the matter of fact generally in public relations, neutrality and respecting the law are the key elements. In public relations a cooperation between police force and society based on corruption and abusing the duties can-not be a healthy relation.
In contemporary world, it is a fact that necessity of public support and the assistance from technology is undeniable. International control mechanisms, human rights and democratic val-ues is getting more and more important every day and to practice the law equally is dependent on informing the public and earning mutual trust through social interaction. Transparency and accountability play a big role in accepting the civilian authority supremacy in democracies to achieve functional security services. In general terms, for police forces responsible from do-mestic security to be righteous and stay righteous is significant to reach social comfort, trust and justice. In last years community-supported policing is being achieved slowly with the com-bination of these factors.
But even though the efforts to achieve community-supported policing, the crimes of corruption and unfair use of force dependent on the status of the police is still a concern for the society. Moreover, this brings out the well-known question of “Who guards the guards?”. In order to prevent crimes committed by law enforcement officers, employees are informed about such crimes, subjected to ethical education, and the existence and application of reliability tests are confronted as important mechanisms.
For policing communities, it is crucial to know the dynamics of the communities that is being secured. A community is a changing aspect. The ethnicities, income and education levels, back-grounds, these are the key aspects that defines the communities’ dynamics. This constant and inevitable change enriches and develops the community or the neighbourhood. But these changes are not always positive. They can also cause problems and difficulties over-time. It is the one of the main duties of the police to consider and respect the aspects, cultures and diver-sities that shapes the community. ‘The very programmes that have been designed to ‘build community relations, foster a sense of partnership, and enhance social justice in heterogeneous societies’ have themselves become involved in the world of social inequity. Police officers, as such, are faced with the decision over whose interests and values should be upheld, and where to draw the boundary between policing and political questions.’ (Srinivasan and Hearn, 2001)
Studies shows that throughout the last half of the century, there are a lot to overcome in terms of racism against the civilians from the police and even racism among the police force. And in responding to these race-related crimes police force seems to be ineffective and careless. ‘Community policing has been heralded as the key method for replacing traditional, hierar-chical structures. Nevertheless, despite the tremendous revival of community policing, its con-cept is not new. On the contrary, as far back as 1829, Sir Robert Peel pointed out that ‘the po-lice are the public and the public are the police’.’ (Srinivasan and Hearn, 2001)
Immigration, a phenomenon that is as old as human history, sometimes emerges as a move-ment of volunteer individuals and groups, in order to achieve better living conditions, even if it occurs for compelling reasons such as wars, natural disasters and exiles. Today, international migration has reached very important dimensions, bringing together the different cultures’ co-existence and functioning, and therefore the problems of cultural adaptation of the individuals coming from different cultures. That is where racism stars to occur in the societies together with adaptation issues. The delivery of policing – whether in the form of ‘force’ or ‘service’ – should not be greatly inferior for some social groups than others. ‘And yet, the research evi-dence shows that, in general, people who are seen as ‘white’ tend to have a more satisfactory experience of the police than people whose ancestry lies in Asia and Africa.’ (Bowling, Parmar and Phillips, 2003)
Racism and xenophobia are presently a social illness that shakes the foundations of the Europe-an integration project and necessitates an effective fight. What is interesting, and graver is that this thinking is increasingly entering the process of normalization and legitimization in the polit-ical arena. This is also an important indicator of the raising of extreme right wing, which mani-fests itself in racism and xenophobia across the Europe. The European Union, which is currently able to overcome the current problems through the burden of ‘foreigners’, will still have to se-riously pursue long-term integration policies in the near future in order to continue and further develop the integration project, which still plays alarm bells.
The forms of racism that are present in Europe today, such as the rise of racism and xenopho-bia, are not in one dimension. The use of representatives in political platforms for solving prob-lems, especially racist attitudes and behaviours, the institutional and structural form of socio-cultural exclusion and racism among the society are only a few of the aspects forms of racism. Therefore, the actual struggle with this social phenomenon requires policies and regulations that span a wide spectrum in every institution of the governments, due to both the diversity of the elements it causes and the differences in its appearance. In fact, it is not enough by itself and in terms of an effective and comprehensive campaign to realize racism and xenophobia targeting all racial factors. During the production of policies for issues such as migration, inte-gration, security and unemployment, it is necessary to refrain from approaching the negative perceptions in the society or making the fears legitimate. This approach, which can be de-scribed as indirect policy production, is actually complementary to the target policies when the causes of the problem are considered.
Only economic consideration of the effects of globalization on the nation-state and its citizens will undermine the mobility that it causes in political and social spheres, and the effects of poli-cy and social ideology approaches reflected on racist and xenophobic attitudes. On the other hand, globalization can lead to a change in national-state functions and powers, leading to a rise in nationalist movements, and in countries where these movements are overdosed.
Furthermore, the multiculturalism that comes with globalization paradoxically makes the iden-tity differences more prominent, which makes it clear that the distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’. In addition, the increasing social and political oppression of immigrants should not be ignored, as globalization creates a more permeable structure of the borders and the contribu-tion made to human mobility, especially in the sense of labour, as mass migration. Discrimina-tion is most likely where there are no clear guidelines or criteria for decision-making, where decisions depend on subjective judgements rather than (or in addition to) objective criteria, where decision-making criteria are not strictly relevant to decisions and have a disproportion-ately adverse impact on certain groups; where there is considerable scope for exercise of indi-vidual discretion; where there is no requirement to record or monitor decisions or decision-making process; and where local and organizational cultural norms (rather than the require-ments of service delivery) strongly influence decision-making. (Bowling, Parmar and Phillips, 2003)
Despite unemployment, homelessness, crime, and economic problems in the Brixton region, events have not been initiated in a planned manner. The main reason that triggered the start of the events and ignited the fire that burned the country is the wrong attitudes and actions of the British police against the people of the region. Lord Scarman has come to the conclusion that police see ethnic minorities, especially blacks, as ‘potential criminals’, thus prejudging them. In addition, the police organization indicates that it is organized in a way that is institutionally prone to racism, and that this reflects these tendencies in attitudes and behaviors towards the people, knowingly or unknowingly. Lord Scarman has included some of his similar rebellions in his studies elsewhere in the coun-try. In this context, Birmingham’s analysis of events in the Southall region, reveals a much dif-ferent reason than the black rebellions of Brixton.
The Birmingham police are not sufficiently guarding against the attacks of racist skinheads and socialist groups of Asian minorities (mostly Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi ethnic groups) living in this region. As a result, minority communities that had been desperate for the protection of the police had to set up their own defence groups in order to be protected from racist attacks, and when they saw the events in Brixton on television, they started rebelling. So, the Asian origins in Birmingham Southall are facing another aspect of racism, and they are upset to draw attention to this issue. In Lord Scarman’s report, the main source of the uprising in Bristol is the police immorality to the gangs traditionally used by the Caribbean Islanders (West Indians) living here.
These findings of Lord Scarman are very similar to the findings of the ‘Kerner Commission’, which was commissioned in the summer of 1967 to investigate the great black minority upris-ings of America that occurred in many cities. In America in the summer of 1967 there were re-volts that led to great destruction and damage in many cities, and American President Johnson assigned a commission of 11 people, headed by former Illinois governor Otto Kerner, to investi-gate the causes of the events and prepare a report. In Newark, New Jersey between July 12 and July 17, 1967, 6 people were killed, 725 people were injured, about 1,500 people were taken into custody and six people were taken into custo-dy. At the end, it cost more than $10 million of financial losses.
When investigating the cause of these terrible events, a black taxi driver named John Smith was detained claiming that he was following a police car very closely, and during this process he was beaten by police and sent to a police station. After this incident, the rumours of the death of taxi driver due to the beatings in custody spread the city and caused the beginning of the re-bellion. At the base of the rebellions that began on July 23, 1967 in Detroit, police raided the nightclub called “Blind Pig”, a club which mostly blacks attend. The reason was that the club wasn’t closed at the official closure time. When the Detroit city police officers come to close the nightclub and arrest the detainees, they found exactly 82 customers, while they were expecting to find a few customers inside.
These customers were celebrating the return of two war veterans who have just returned from the Vietnam War. However, because the police should not be there at that time, they arrested and took everybody there in custody. For a situation that is not necessary to be taken into cus-tody and which can be taken care of with the warning that the celebrators should stop the en-tertainment as soon as possible, the detention of such people leads to outrage, and the growing events result in uprisings. As a result of the violence, looting and destruction seen during the 5 days of the uprising, 43 people are killed, 467 people are wounded, 412 buildings are burned, 2509 workplaces are looted or burned, 7231 people are taken into custody and 80 million dol-lars of financial loss occurs with that current value.
The Kerner Commission’s investigation of such events has led to the conclusion that the Ameri-can police not only play the role of ‘spark factor’ at the beginning of these uprisings but also have a share in the creation of a social tension environment. The report states that many blacks see American police as a symbol of racism, oppression, and hardship of whites as a result of the police ‘s harsh and insensitive behaviour towards the black. In the 1960s America, the tense and polarized atmosphere between blacks and cops caused blacks to see cops as savages or tyrants.
In addition, the blacks did not hesitate to admit hostile attitudes towards the police. They felt that the police practiced a double standard against them as if there were separate laws for white people and black people in the country and therefore they did not treat them fairly. Oth-er assessments made in the report indicated that the tense political atmosphere that existed in American society in those years created an ‘explosive mixture’ that is open to ignition and con-flict at any moment, and this explosive mixture was triggered in the summer of 1967.
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